Compare Credit Cards in Canada
Canadians are lucky, in that we have a rich and far-reaching variety of credit cards available to us. We can easily find a card that suits our individual lifestyle and habits, the brands we love, our credit scores, and more. The only consequence of this variety is that it can be difficult to sort through the masses and choose the card that is most optimal for us. This is why GreedyRates exists: to help Canadians thoroughly comprehend the options available and make an informed decision.
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We’ve developed a comparison system for examining all the best credit cards by a plethora of important factors, including annual fee, interest rate, issuer, recommended credit score and more. Dig into our wealth of credit card reviews, blogs, and other helpful educational info on GreedyRates.
Compare Credit Cards by Bank
When searching for a potential credit card to pick up, it’s vital to consider which bank or credit card issuer offers the card. Many Canadians are loyal to one or two banks, and would prefer to keep their business with them instead of an unfamiliar new issuer. Whether because of excellent service, a long-standing relationship or even proximity to the bank’s branches, we do not discount this choice.
Compare Credit Cards by Perks
Our readers can use GreedyRates to sort the best Canadian credit cards by the perks, benefits, and bonuses they most appreciate. For example, you might find cash back worthwhile, while others who travel often might prefer rewards or travel credit cards more. Credit cards can contain an array of perks that suit virtually any potential cardholder, and maximizing the value you get from the card hinges upon choosing perks that complement your lifestyle.
No Annual Fee
Some banks and issuers charge an annual fee for their credit cards, which tends to increase accordingly with the level of benefits offered. The best rewards cards might cost over $500 per year, but exhibit the potential for greater savings. However, this doesn’t mean that Canadians can’t find a great credit card with no annual fee. No-fee cards come in all shapes and sizes and many offer very lucrative features.
Free Flight Sign-Up Bonus
For travellers and globetrotters in Canada, credit cards that earn miles with any of the country’s excellent travel rewards programs are useful. Even more useful is the instant mileage bonus that comes with many of these cards, which rewards new cardholders with bulk travel miles just for signing up, making a purchase, or sometimes for meeting an initial spending milestone. While it isn’t technically a “free flight,” oftentimes the mileage bonus is enough to redeem for a ticket immediately.
Car Rental Insurance
A big concern when travelling, whether for a vacation or a business trip, is arranging ground transportation while you’re away. Renting cars is the most common solution for gaining mobility, but an inevitable part of renting a car is getting it insured. No one wants to suffer an accident with a bad driver while abroad and get stuck with an enormous bill. Buying insurance from the rental agency is always a good idea, but it’s also possible to get covered through your credit card, saving these fees every time you rent.
Flight Delay Insurance
Flight delays can cause you to miss connections for other legs of a journey, which can ruin your plans and create a sizeable financial hit. In these cases it can be a blessing to have flight delay insurance on your credit card, which pays cardholders when their flights are pushed back for any number of reasons.
Applying for a credit card typically involves a waiting period while the bank or issuer delves into your credit history, existing debts, income, and other components of your overall creditworthiness. This can be a tiresome wait, and it may be impractical to get the card as much as a month after the application was submitted. At the end of the day, approval isn’t even guaranteed. Applicants who are uncertain about their eligibility will enjoy getting cards from issuers that offer instant approval, regardless of other details.
Travel Medical Insurance
When travellers compare credit cards in Canada, they pay close attention to insurance. Premium travel cards, and frequently even entry-level cards will include some medical insurance coverage during your travels. While on a trip, should you get injured or fall sick and require medical assistance, the card will cover the resulting expenses. You’ll need to pay for it and then call the issuer once you receive the bill, and they will typically credit your account for the sum of the medical care bills. This saves you from shouldering the burden yourself, or from paying for a different travel medical insurance program elsewhere.
Free Companion Tickets
One of the most rare and valuable perks available through some travel rewards cards is a free companion ticket perk. Only offered on a select few credit cards, you can still use our filter tool to find those that offer this benefit, which is essentially complimentary airfare matching one of your own flights. You can then give this ticket to a friend or relative travelling on the same itinerary. For those with spouses or partners who frequently fly with them, free companion tickets can save a bundle.
Trip Cancellation Insurance
What’s even more disruptive than flight delays? Having a flight cancelled entirely. Shelling out cash for a new flight, new connections and altered accommodations is expensive, so having trip cancellation insurance can be a real benefit in these circumstances. For flights cancelled due to a long list of accepted reasons, cardholders can calculate how much it has cost them and get reimbursed individually or as a group.
Free Hotel Sign-Up Bonus
Like the free airfare sign-up bonus, earning free nights in a hotel from your credit card is more about the points you receive rather than a voucher of some kind. There are many credit cards in Canada that offer enormous amounts of rewards points in bulk, which can be immediately redeemed for free hotel stays—and often, other rewards as well.
Compare Cards by Type
While the perks above allow you to filter with precision, you’re also free to choose the credit cards that appear on our list by the type of card they are. For instance, you may know that cash back delivers the most value per your spending habits, and you can therefore filter out travel cards, US dollar cards, and other irrelevant choices. Choose the card type that’s best for you based on its broader advantages.
‘Rewards’ is a broad term accompanied by an equally broad variety of benefits. Rewards cards collect points that are redeemable for an impressive array of products and services including merchandise, gift cards, entertainment, special events, travel packages, and more.
The straightforward benefit of earning money on each of your eligible purchases is called cash back, and it’s the most direct way to reduce your expenses. These cards can offer a variable rate of cash back depending on what you purchase, and often provide a higher rate on the most common purchases such as gas, groceries, restaurants, recurring bills, and more. This makes it important to choose the cashback card that aligns best with your spending habits. However, most have a flat, “catch-all” cashback rate that applies to all purchase categories.
A travel credit card is a specific kind of rewards card include a variety of add-ons that make trips more comfortable, and less expensive. The peripheral services required by savvy travellers are often included, such as insurance for the flight, rental car, baggage, and any potential medical needs. These cards earn points referred to as ‘miles’, which can be redeemed at whichever airline they’re connected to, and sometimes at others operating within the same network. While travelling, cardholders will enjoy perks like free access to VIP airport lounges, companion flight vouchers, free checked bags, priority boarding and more.
No Foreign Transaction Fee
Foreign transaction fees tend to fly under the radar, but vigilant cardholders know that using a Canadian dollar card abroad tacks on fees of 2.50% or more to each purchase. Banks must do the legwork to exchange money on these purchases, but this hardly justifies such exorbitant fees. Accordingly, travellers who use their card a lot overseas (or who shop from foreign stores online) stand to save a lot of money by avoiding these fees. They can do so by using any of the excellent no-foreign-transaction-fee cards at their disposal.
For credit cards that don’t fit in any single category, GreedyRates has the ‘Specialty’ category. The label doesn’t reveal much on its own, but cardholders who are loyal to specific brands or have exacting preferences might find what they need here. Some examples include the GM Visa lineup, which allows you to save up for a new vehicle as you spend. Another exemplary specialty card is for Canadian Football League fans, and allows point redemption on a nice array of memorabilia and gear.
One thing common among all the credit cards on this list are that they hold Canadian dollars, but this isn’t convenient for some cardholders. Those who have homes, relatives, income, and other reasons to be in the US frequently need a tool that cooperates with the financial system there, and that means US dollars. These cards can be connected to US dollar chequing or savings accounts, don’t penalize you for purchases in USD, and help you avoid signing up for an American bank.
*This post was not sponsored. The views and opinions expressed in this review are purely my own.